Micronas launches dual-tuner DVB-S2 PCI Express reference design for Media PCs and home theaters

Teaming with CyberLink, Micronas enables HDTV on PC- based satellite receivers with MicSidewinder 2D-X, a DVB-S2 tuner card reference design for PC OEMs and system integrators

(PresseBox) ( Freiburg, )
Micronas (SWX Swiss Exchange: MASN), a leading supplier of innovative application-specific IC system solutions for consumer electronics, today announced the launch of MicSidewinder® 2D-X, a dual-tuner DVB-S2 PCI Express® card reference design for home theater solutions. Each channel of the MicSidewinder 2D-X supports the new DVB-S2 standard enabling full HDTV quality, as well as the legacy DVB-S standard for SDTV. Equipped with two symmetric receiver channels the design enables PiP and PVR applications.

Micronas worked closely with STMicroelectronics, the world’s leading supplier of ICs for set-top boxes, and CyberLink to create a production quality reference design that is truly ready for the living room. Compatibility with Windows XP Media Center and CyberLink’s PowerCinema Home Theater application makes a PC equipped with MicSidewinder 2D-X a complete PVR capable satellite receiver system.

“MicSidewinder 2D-X complements our series of reference designs for PCIe tuner cards based on Micronas nGene® APB 7202A PCI Express controller, a technology that ensures users will always enjoy the best TV entertainment available on their PCs," says Kai Scheffer, Media Home at Micronas. “DVB-S2 means HDTV quality is not only possible, but affordable in PC-TV systems, and the results are impressive.”

In combination with other technologies, such as H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC), the new DVB-S2 standard provides a significant increase in the number of standard definition or HDTV channels that can be broadcasted by each satellite. Today, Astra – a leading European satellite provider – broadcasts most HDTV content via DVB-S2. Thus, MicSidewinder is the key to get HDTV content into the PC.

Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink Corp, said, “With our extensive experience in digital TV formats, CyberLink PowerCinema provides an easy-to-use application for enjoying high-definition H.264 DVB-S2 television content. We’re excited to work with Micronas in delivering top-quality TV solutions that support a full range of video standards.”

MicSidewinder 2D-X is based on the Micronas nGene® APB 7202A PCI Express controller, combined with the STB0899/STB6100 DVB-S2 chipset from STMicroelectronics. The STB6100 silicon tuner, which also receives conventional DVB-S signals, is optimized to handle DVB-S2 higher-order modulations with minimum phase noise. The STB0899 converts DVB-S2 signals into the digital video transport stream data with an outstanding level of performance. Both devices are optimized for cost-effective consumer applications.

“ST’s STB899/STB6100 solution combines high performance due to an optimized architecture, and cost-effective implementation thanks to a simplified layout,” said Mustapha Bouraoui, Technical Marketing Manager for Front-End Solutions in Consumer and Computer Business Unit, STMicroelectronics. “By incorporating the DVB-S standard, the STB0899 enables a seamless migration to DVB-S2 broadcast services and opens the door to High-Definition Digital TV.”

The MicSidewinder 2D-X reference design supports Free TV services and relies on USB-attached conditional access solutions or Soft-CAM solutions for Pay TV reception.

MPEG-2 HD content is supported by a variety of software decoder solutions, such as the one built into CyberLink’s PowerCinema. In order to receive the new H.264-encoded HD channels, the card is either based on a 3.6 GHz dual-core system with top-end external graphics adapter for software decoding or the card can be combined with the recently presented MicRacer reference design. Micronas’ MicRacer is a PCI Express connected H.264 hardware decoder solution enabling smooth decoding on lowest-end PC systems with embedded graphic subsystem.

Micronas’ nGene dual-channel multimedia PCI Express controller delivers the bandwidth needed for two HDTV channels, eliminating potential bottlenecks that may occur with conventional PCI connectivity. nGene is certified by the PCI-SIG, the industry standard body for PCI Express technology, to be PCI Express 1.0a compliant. This certification guarantees that MicSidewinder 2D-X is compatible with a wide variety of PC motherboards offering PCI Express x1 slots.

MicSidewinder 2D-X joins the DVB-T based MicPython® 2H-X and the ATSC-based MicViper® 2H-X, and the recently announced MicRacer® 1D-X H.264 / VC-1 decoder in a family of nGene-based reference designs supported by a common driver software model. A unified driver architecture across the entire reference design family makes it easy to design, maintain and support world-standard products. MicSidewinder 2D-X, like the other family members, is a complete, production-ready solution. Reference design kits are available now.

MicSidewinder, MicViper, MicPython, MicRacer and nGene are registered trademarks of Micronas GmbH. PCI Express is a registered trademark of the PCI-SIG. DVB is a registered trademark of the DVB Projects. Other products and companies are trademarked by their respective owners.
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